tv [untitled] CSPAN June 30, 2009 7:30am-8:00am EDT
let me ask you what you see and hear on this day? guest: it is absolutely fascinating. i just came from the parade grounds. we just came from where there was the statute of saddam hussein with the crossed arms. they had several different national tanks, a couple of helicopters. they all the best and saluted the premise and defense ministers. many of the people there are a little apprehensive. host: you are joining us from a cell phone, so i apologize if it breaks up a little for the audience. how do we reach this time with
the u.s. troops turning the iraqi troops. the question is posed this morning by former vice-president dick cheney, wondering if the troops are ready? guest: it depends on your definition of ready. we have gone from not having a condition-based withdrawal, to iraq also been eager to get them off the streets. they are politically ready. whether they can handle the insurgency -- it will face some problems, particularly in the north. most military officials feel there is no longer the threat to the very distance of the iraqi government two years ago with the civil war -- it seems to be manageable now. it does not mean we will not have car bombs, though. host: is their jubilation in the
streets of baghdad and elsewhere? guest: you know, there were less the. there was a huge party apart. most of the young men came out to listen to the music and to dance. there were a lot of men for sadr city, young guys who did not have work, who had quit school. they felt strongly that the americans needed to be off their streets. those young males felt humiliation and feel like they suffered particularly. the believes i there are still many iraqis who are quite worried about what is coming next host: there is a story about chinese officials tried to buy contracts for iraqi
oil. are you following that? guest: that is fascinating. i went from the military parade with the vehicles in national song directly to the oil auction and is a major process with all the majors there, chinese, british, american -- one consultant said this is the biggest oil event in history. i know it sounds exaggerated, but iraq has the second biggest oil reserves. the problem is, the terms the iraqi government were so low that [unintelligible] they were asking for $7 per barrel, ended the iraqi government was saying to dollars per barrel -- so it is a bit of a stomach. host: you have always been gracious to share with our
audience. -- so it is a bit of a stalemate there. host: do you worry about your own safety today and have is that compare with a couple of years ago? guest: i think that we all worry less. two years ago you would not have been able to get into your car, and ordinary iraqi car with your iraqi step and drive to places. we have gone through pretty well every neighborhood in baghdad. you still have to be quite careful. you can see in the streets that iraqis are going out more. it does not mean things are normal, but that there is a spacer for normal things to developing a security has increased to where people and
companies are taking more risks. things are moving forward, although sometimes two steps ford, one step back. host: her work can also be read it online. thanks for being with us. we want to introduce to you lieutenant colonel john nagl who is a retired lieutenant colonel. thank you for being with us. you have written a report that " general david petraeus that asks how this will end. are we at the point? guest: we are not. i would like to think, listening jane who says that conditions are better now -- i would like to think that we have seen real progress and are moving toward a
condition where we can have a normal relationship with iraq and where the iraqi people can have an increasingly normal life. host: much concern expressed by the former was president. are they valid? guest: i think they are del. the security situation in iraq is far improved, but still tenuous. where handing more responsibility over to the iraqi security forces enough we have tried to do that before. i think they are more ready this time than last. we're keeping a substantial presence there now and for years to come to buttress them. the situation on the ground i think has changed permanently. but it does not mean that there will not still be car bombs. that is why i wrote this people to encourage the west remain engaged in understand that this progress still relies greatly on american support. host: are there lessons we can
apply to afghanistan? guest: the situation is very different, but the counter- insurgency principals continue to apply. one of the lessons we learned it in iraq is that you have to protect the population first. in iraq will try to do that with iraqi security forces before they were ready. increasingly at think they can now protect the population as america slides back. we have not done as good a job building afghan security forces. they are far too small. we have to devote more resources toward that and the long haul. in the short term it will have to be american forces providing security to the afghan people. host: you can appreciate this comment from maryland.
guest: there is a lot of truth to that. the purpose of the u.s. army is not just to win our nation's wars. once we have won them, it is to remain forever that was to prevent those conditions from starting again. we're not yet withdrawn from iraq, but pulling out of the cities, letting iraqis take the lead. there will continue to be soldiers in iraq to release 2011. there might be some presence even after that withdrawal deadline. host: the iraqi interior minister has a comment in his editorial in "the washington post suzy which says the mission is not yet accomplish.
-- this says the mission is not yet accomplished. will that come into play? guest: huge steps have already been taken. there has been enormous progress. his absolute right that it is currently a balanced on a knife edge. the forces of economic development are incredibly and put them. much pressure to maintain those conditions for economic development, increased oil development that is good for the entire world that runs on oil. but they're still forces of the ascension and sowing discord. al qaeda still poses great threats.
this is a careful balance we will have to watch. host: he also points out corruption. 60,000 interior employees had been fired on corruption charges. another 40 police officers are facing charges of prison abuse. guest: the culture there in iraq is prone to corruption. quite frankly, i hate to make that generalization. but i used an arab word for bribe most often while i was there. the positive sign is that the interior ministry is increasingly taking action. the corruption is down. but we will have to watch it over the next couple of years. as america's presence diminishes we cannot keep us close and i when that as we have been able to.
it is a good sign that the interior minister wrote that article, second, that he is finally taking steps to reduce corruption, but it is a long- term problem. host: our guest is a graduate of west point, former rhodes scholar and retired military. our phone lines are open. you can also send an e-mail or twitter. louisiana, good morning. caller: congratulations on graduating from west point, too bad you did not learn anything. [laughter] caller: go ahead and left. you think is funny we murdered 1 million people over there? we have to remain there you say to be sure it is never a threat to the u.s. again. i would challenge you to tell us how they were a threat to begin with being that they never found
these weapons of mass destruction. these recent letters have been covered from saddam hussein saying that he wanted to have an alliance with us against terrorism, so you are disingenuous sir, you are a liar. we are over there for a reason other than for the profits of this imperialistic country. you are soldier for imperialism, that is who you are. being that you are such a learned graduate, you to look a butler and what he had to say about our imperious worse. war is nothing but a record. you are nothing but an agent for death. host: i will stop you there. guest: steve, if i can, there have been about 150,000 casualties there, not 1.5 million. those are horrible. i saw a number myself. i fought two wars in iraq.
i don't think have served for imperialism, but to increase security for the united states. in my first war certainly for the people of kuwait when i helped to expel the army of saddam hussein. he remained a threat to world peace and security throughout the region. his weapons of mass destruction program it now appears that he had terminated. not long after desert storm we did not know that. whatever the merits of the decision to go to war in iraq in 2003, the fact remains that we now have a responsibility to try to help iraq be as secure as it can be, not to disintegrate. not to present a threat again. and also not to provide a base for al qaeda in iraq.
i fought against al qaeda, which is dedicated to starting a broader war. so, whatever the merits of the decision to invade iraq in 2003 -- and rational people can disagree on that, i think it is hard to make any argument except that an american commitment to maintaining and preserving the stability we bought at such great cost of the past several years is in the interest of the 19 states and of the world. host: the me ask you specifically about this area you know well. it is sunni triangle. what is it like there today? guest: it is very different from what it was when i fought there. in august last year -- a host: where is it on a thismap? guest: it is in the south of iraq.
it used to be calm -- it was the triangle of death, now increasingly called the triangle of love. violences down, four down from what it was. it is still for american advisers to help the security forces develop and continue to build the fragile stability still growing there. host: new castle, delaware, good morning. caller: good morning, i guess part of the reason to go there it was to pick up the monolithic of the modern arab, muslim nation, or something like that and create independent entities over there that could be dealt with better and are better able to create democratic governments in the region. do you think the new administration will continue the goal?
as opposed to promoting the modern arab man who goes beyond international boundaries? do you think this has given the people who drive for democracy there hope that someday their country might be part of the franchise of freedom? guest: it is a great question. i do not think the stated causes for the invasion of iraq in march 2003 had much to do with this idea of broader arab identity. the probable causes were the aftermath of 9/11, war against al qaeda, and the belief that saddam hussein had a wmd's. that said, the results, despite the carnage, the loss of a
number of my friends, and a large number of iraqi civilians has resulted in a fledgling democratic government. one where the people have some choice. i believe that democracy in iraq has helped, somehow influenced the rising tide toward a more popular democracy in iran. it is too early to say what will happen in the region. what is very clear is that we are in a very different sort of middle east than we were five years ago. i believe there is a civil war inside it is long. it appears as if the radical islamists might be on the
defensive, might be losing some ground. i am heartened by that. i think that continued american involvement particularly in iraq -- we should sit card connector progress there. i think it will be required for a number of years. host: our guest is retired lieutenant colonel john nagl. we have a common from twitter based on the first caller. guest: that is very kind. i was privileged to attend the united states military academy at taxpayer expense and like to think i have given the american people something back for their investment in me, but it was an enormous honor to serve in two words. we continue to be blessed with
enormously talented young people who served in our armed forces and who have given far more than the country has frankly your right to ask of them. many of my friends are serving third or even for taurus over there. the war in afghanistan is likely to continue for a number of years. i appreciate the support of this color and ask him to continue to support soldiers in harm's way even as we speak. host: what is your reaction concern in the comment about oil? guest: this was not all about oil. the invasion in iraq caused great turmoil to the world's oil markets. it is finally beginning to stabilize. the apartment cause for the invasion in 2003 was the concern that saddam hussein had active weapons of mass destruction and fear that he might use them in
a pre-emptive commit terrorist manner affiliated with al qaeda. we did not know and he refused to reveal exactly what the status of that program was. we found later he had stopped the program not long after desert storm, the first war in iraq. the intelligence failures -- and there were intelligence failures leading up to the decision, some policy mistakes -- i think some policy mistakes were made. but it had nothing to do with the soldiers who fought on the front. what everyone thinks of the decision to invade, the responsibility to maintain security and stability continues it and will continue for some time. we cannot play history back. we have to move forward from where we are. host: here are some photographs from the associated press over
the past 24 hours. caller: good morning, i am concerned about the mission that we test the american people were told why we're going into iraq and how it changed when failure -- when failure of the first reason for going in came about. then the other reason was freedom. i am concerned about sending our men and women into harm's way for reasons that cost you who have served our country to go into -- have caused you to go into battle, and they do not even know what they're going to fight for. what was the mission? i am also concerned that when disagreements with the policy of george bush and dick cheney
were advanced, they effectively rejected it and they still hung on to ideas that were failures. host: thank you. guest: it is a very heartfelt call and a share your concern. actions have consequences. the decision to go to war is the most important decision a government makes. decisions like that made under pressure and with imperfect intelligence are rightly, i think, the subject of backward glances and analysis. and i think there will be the fodder for a doctoral dissertations for many years to come. we initially went in i believe because of the fear of wmd's
falling into wrong hands or being used intentionally by the regime of saddam hussein. whatever the merits of that, once we had broken come to dump the we had the responsibility to put him back together again. an unstable iraq in the heart of the least allowed -- once we had broken humpty dumpty we had to put him back together again. that the civilization would have been altogether bad. we are finally for increasing freedom and to a new democracy in iraq. the real priority, the reason my friends and my brother who was just commissioned will continue to be required to serve in iraq is to preserve the stability in give that country a chance to grow in some degree of freedom
and to prevent american from again being at risk either from terrorists using iraq as a base or from stability and the instability throughout the region. that responsibility continues regardless of whether one agrees with or not the initial decision to invade iraq. host: this story concerning dick cheney is felt in several places. this is what he had to say. >> i emigrate believer in the leader and i think he is one of the most of the people i have ever worked with all my years in the business. what he says concerns me, that there is still a continuing problem. he is doing what needs to be done in keeping the u.s. commitment to get out of the cities, but it will look like, one might speculate that the
insurgents are winning and will launch more tax incentives to get an opportunity. i hope not. i certainly hope the iraqis can do with it. -- and will launch more attacks when they get the opportunity. guest: the general has certainly done a great job. he is the second in command and is no overall command. i think that general odierno is correct when he expresses concern about possible instability and is concerned about whether iraqi troops can secure the area on their own. well over 100,000 -- 100,000 troops will remain there for some time. we have some safety nets in place as increasingly they assume full sovereignty to take care of their own country.
now america will be helping an imperfect democracy, a democratic iraq increasingly to stand on the tongue. host: here is the total of one of your menus, learning to eat soup with a knife. can you explain? guest: yes, i was privileged at oxford university to study counter-insurgency and a look at the works of lawrence of arabia who said that making war and rebellion is messy and slow, like eating soup with a net. he understood how difficult, grinding but in an insurgency can be. conventional military forces are not very well-prepared to do with that kind of war by nature or training.
they have to learn how to do it over time. will we have seen over the past six years in iraq is an american military and prepared to fight this kind of insurgency, but to learn and adapt. those lessons are now applied to the war in afghanistan. into what has been called a global counter-insurgency campaign against al qaeda and its friends. host: our guest is the retired lieutenant colonel john nagl. caller: i would just like to say that i come from a long line ofgrunts from the war, right down to my brother's in both iraq wars, and i love your analogy of it break humpty dumpty and then putting him back together again. we have the freedom and the united states to say we want to, but like to apologize for the fellow who said you were alive.
we also have to do -- who said that you were a liar. we have to do what our commanders tell us to do when you're in the armed forces. i support our troops holy. for my father told me about boosting and the eagle on the flag of world war ii, and have seen these things and seen that it is almost as if the army are imitating these things. it does not sit well with a lot of people. then again, i do appreciate everything you have done in service for this country. i truly think you. i wanted to call in with a positive comment. host: there is this e-mail from tennessee.
guest: let me speak first to a the caller, john. my first gunner -- i'm very fond of him and a grateful to his family. st. augustine said the purpose of a war is to build a better peace, and that is what we return to do in iraq. the plan was admittedly a imperforate and there were many mistakes made. there were too few troops involved. there were not enough troops to secure iraq after war. there was terrific looting. it has taken a long time to rebuild the military in iraq which we disbanded, one of our most critical mistakes. we almost immediately began to rebuild it again. to the second cholera ,bill,